Project location within country: Upper West Region
Duration: April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008
Project status: Complete
The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), through the Stand Alone Public Engagement Fund (SAPEF), funded Saskatchewan Polytechnic's (formally SIAST) one-year $57,000 public engagement project entitled Where’s Wa?
Saskatchewan Polytechnic (formally SIAST) staff and students traveled to Wa to develop a short documentary on the Wa Polytechnic. The Upper West Region is one of the worst affected of the country’s 10 regions. Over 70% of the population currently lives in poverty. Recognizing the critical need for enhanced local human resources, the Wa Polytechnic (WP) was established by legislation in 1999 and began program offerings in September 2004.
The Wa Polytechnic offers five programs at present – Agricultural Engineering, Accountancy, Secretaryship and Management, Building Technology and Civil Engineering. There are currently 600 students and 32 faculty members. The WP is looking into other, non-traditional programs to continue to grow and expand to meet the needs of the local population. With the assistance of Saskatchewan Polytechnic (formally SIAST), WP is also developing numerous short courses that can be offered to the local population and businesses.
The Stand Alone Public Engagement Fund (SAPEF) financially supports programs that:
- seek to increase the awareness, understanding and engagement of Canadians in international development issues and programs
- increases support for Canada’s international assistance program and for international efforts to reduce global poverty
- creates opportunities for meaningful participation in international development activities
The purpose of the project is to increase awareness and potential for active participation of Saskatchewan students, staff, faculty and communities with the Establishing the Wa Polytechnic Project, other international development projects and communities in the Upper West Region in Ghana.
To promote a greater understanding and increased support in Saskatchewan for Canada’s international development assistance and partnership activities in Ghana.
The Wa Polytechnic
Located off the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, the Republic of Ghana faces very significant poverty reduction challenges, as demonstrated by 40 percent of its population living on less than one dollar per day. Although the Government of Ghana has demonstrated recent and sustained resolve to improve political, economic and social conditions despite significant and ongoing sub-regional disruptions, Ghana is ranked 136th of 177 countries on the United Nations Development Index 2006 rankings.
Bordering Burkina Faso in the extreme north of Ghana, the Upper West Region is one of the worst affected of the country’s 10 regions. Over 70 percent of the region’s population lives in poverty. This figure is almost double the national average and approximately 15 times higher than the rate in the capital, Accra.
Over 75 percent of the region’s inhabitants are engaged in small scale agriculture. Most worrisome is that prices for agricultural commodities traditional to the upper West Region, such as tubers and shea nuts, are decreasing with market deregulation. Compounding this situation is the swelling use of environmentally unsustainable practices that is rapidly diminishing yields. As a result, a lack of basic food security is a growing concern for the vast majority of households in the Upper West Region.
- Dagaare, belonging to the Moore-Dagbani language family, and Sissalii, of the Grusi family of languages, are the two prominent dialects spoken in the Upper West Region.
- While English is the language of business and education, there are more than 60 different languages and dialects spoken in Ghana.
- The Upper West Region hosts approximately 575,000 of the country's 23 million people, with 225,000 living in Wa
- Literacy levels in the area are approximately 27% of the population over the age of 15.
- 72% of the population engage in agriculture and related work.
Contact usAngela Wojcichowsky, Director, International Partnerships & Projects
Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Saskatoon Campus, 20th St.
200 – 226 – 20th Street East | PO Box 1520,
Saskatoon SK S7K 0R6 Canada